“For Lydia”


There’s Lydia; we catch a glimpse of her250px-Lydia_Hamilton_Smith

among the burning leaves where soldiers lie.

She guides her horse with water wagon where,

at Gettysburg are heroes marked to die.

The men, propped there by tree or death’s cold stare,

are left alone, their golden dreams now gone.

They cannot answer captain’s call to share

nor may they rise again so proud and strong.

See, there! She now approaches where they fell;

one lonely figure sent as spirit’s daughter.

In hot and humid morning’s quiet hell

puts crusty lips to cups of cool, cool water.

Her horse now stamps his foot as mid pale cries

she is the angel hears their final sighs.

(Lydia Hamilton Smith, born in Gettysburg, Pa., was the daughter of an African-American mother and an Irish father.  When donations wither away for Civil War veterans, she uses her own earnings to help them.  Lydia was born & died on Valentine’s Day, 1813-1884.)